Illinois College Alumni Association Awards recognize outstanding service


The Illinois College Alumni Association Board of Directors recognized the recipients of their annual awards during the 2024 Illinois College Society Gala held on campus in May.

The awards recognized five individuals for their dedication and outstanding service to the college, their local communities and the nation. 

Mouna Soumahoro ’12 is a mathematician who found her way into manufacturing engineering after graduating from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a master’s degree in theoretical and applied mechanics. Over the last 10 years, she has gained tremendous experience in the areas of operations and quality assurance. 

Soumahoro is originally from Abidjan, West Africa, and is currently a Ph.D. student studying nuclear engineering while working full-time at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois. 

When asked how her experience at Illinois College influenced her life, Soumahoro said, “Beyond academic knowledge, IC gave me my very first job as a student worker with food services. I developed a set of transferable skills that helped me access other summer jobs and internships, providing the foundation for my career.” 

Nick Bustos ’10 was born and raised in East Moline, Illinois, and is the son of Cheri Callahan Bustos ’83 and Gerry Bustos. Upon graduating from high school, Bustos attended Illinois College and graduated with a bachelor’s of science in management and organizational leadership and a minor in Spanish. While on the Hilltop, he held various offices in Phi Alpha Literary Society. Bustos continued his education at the University of Illinois Springfield where he graduated with a Master of Business Administration degree.

Currently, Bustos is senior vice president at Mercury Public Affairs, a global bipartisan, government relations and strategic communications firm with recently opened offices in Chicago and Springfield. Before joining the Mercury team, Bustos worked for eight years as a vice president of marketing in the agriculture manufacturing industry where he helped elevate his company’s profile to a nationally-known brand.

He has worked in and advised various political campaigns at the local, state and federal levels. Bustos currently resides in Springfield with his wife, Awisi, who is the CEO of the Illinois Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs and their three-year-old son, Callahan.

Dr. Nichol Eyman DelGiorno '97 is assistant professor of music and director of choral activities. In her 15 years on faculty at Illinois College, she has taught piano, organ, and voice, as well as a variety of courses in musicology and music theory. She directs the choral program, serves as department chair and is also the chair of the Fine Arts Series Board. In Springfield, she has served the congregations of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Temple B’rith Sholom, and the Cathedral of Saint Paul as choir director and organist, and is currently the organist at First Presbyterian Church.

DelGiorno holds degrees from the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana, the University of Iowa and Illinois College. S\ DelGiorno is a scholar of Cuban music, having presented at international conferences in Pinar del Río and Havana. She travels regularly to Pinar del Río to continue her research, to collaborate with Cuban scholars, and to work with their center for music, assisting in their music preservation efforts. DelGiorno will lead the IC Choirs on a tour to Cuba in March 2025, with performances at the Center for Music and Teatro Milanes in Pinar del Río.

As a performer, DelGiorno is active as a solo and collaborative keyboardist, conductor, and vocalist. She lives in Springfield with her husband, attorney Tony DelGiorno ’99, daughter, Sophia, and mother, Betty Higgerson.

When asked about her experience as a professor at IC, DelGiorno only had good things to say. “ Teaching music at a small liberal arts college was always my goal; the fact that I have the privilege to serve my alma mater is a dream come true,” DelGiorno explains. “I love that I have the opportunity to guide students on a diverse musical journey.

Hon. Gail Noll ’94 P’25  is a Circuit Judge in the 7th Judicial Circuit, which includes Sangamon, Morgan, Scott, Greene, Macoupin and Jersey counties, a position she has held since 2019. As a trial court judge, Judge Noll handles a wide variety of cases, including probate, guardianships and complex civil litigation. She also serves on the Illinois Supreme Court’s Committee for Judicial Education, which develops continuing education programs and resources for Illinois judges. She is a Springfield native and a graduate of Illinois College and the University of Illinois College of Law. 

Noll began her legal career in 1997 as a law clerk to Judge Harlington Wood, Jr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit. Immediately prior to taking the bench, Noll was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of Illinois where she served as the Chief of the office’s Civil Division overseeing civil litigation in 46 counties across Central Illinois. 

The Noll family has a long legacy at Illinois College starting with Conrad Noll Jr. ’34. Other Noll family graduates include: Conrad Noll III ’65, Susan Shaver Kehoe ’84, Mae Marie Noll ’96Conrad Noll IV ’97, Gray Noll ’99, Bob Noll ’02 and Daniel Noll ’06. Gail and her husband John Milhiser have two daughters, one of whom is a junior at IC. The family has generously given back to Illinois College — supporting the annual fund, various strategic initiatives and establishing several endowed scholarships.  

Noll credits her time at IC with her success in the law field. “The lessons I learned both in and out of the classroom prepared me for practicing law. Additionally, Illinois College has such a dedicated and loyal alumni network.  It never ceases to amaze me how many times I encounter other alumni that have consistently been willing to go out of their way to support a fellow IC grad.”

Edgar J. Curtis is a community leader who has championed a $4.2 million partnership between Memorial Health and Illinois College in 2023 to expand local educational opportunities. 

Curtis has served as president and chief executive officer of Memorial Health since January 2008. Curtis provides leadership for the strategic direction of the Springfield-based health system, which delivers comprehensive health services to the central Illinois region. He began his career at Memorial in 1975 as a registered nurse and has served in a variety of administrative positions. 

“We are excited to partner with Illinois College to make nursing education programs more accessible and affordable for students in our region,” he said of the pioneering initiative between IC and Memorial Health, which will comprise 50 scholarships annually. 

The new scholarships will cover the complete cost of tuition for eligible nursing students hailing from the 38 Illinois counties surrounding the Jacksonville campus during the first two years at IC. Funding from Memorial will support new nursing simulation labs and facilities planned to open in fall 2024 to provide specialized training in areas such as home health, neonatal, and intensive care. 

Curtis currently serves as member of the IHHA Nominating Committee, is a member of the board of the BJC Collaborative and is chair of the Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance (economic development) Board. In 2019, he was appointed by Gov. JB Pritzker to serve on the board of trustees of Southern Illinois University. 

He previously served on the Illinois Board of Higher Education Commission on the Future of the Workforce and the advisory board of the University of Illinois Chicago College of Nursing. A Springfield resident, Curtis received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, where he was inducted into the School of Nursing Alumni Hall of Fame.

Over 200 people were in attendance at the Society Gala awards ceremony. This is an annual event for the College’s premier annual giving circle which brings together visionary donors in IC’s philanthropic community with College leadership. Membership in the Illinois College Society is extended to all donors who give $1,000 or more to the College on an annual basis. To learn more about the Illinois College Society visit

About Illinois College

Founded in 1829, Illinois College is a residential liberal arts college fostering academic excellence rooted in opportunities for experiential learning while preparing students for lifelong success. The college is located in Jacksonville, Illinois. With an enrollment of more than 1,000 students, the college offers over 50 undergraduate programs. In 1932, the society of Phi Beta Kappa established a chapter at Illinois College, and it remains one of only 11 in the state.

Illinois College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.

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Emily Titsworth '19, Writer
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